Australian ​Department Of Health Explores Blockchain For Medical Research Records

News | May 21, 2018 By:

Australia’s Department of Health has partnered with blockchain startup Agile Digital and cloud provider Vault Systems to trial a blockchain platform that supports research on health data while maintaining privacy on citizen data.

During the project, the health department was able to use a blockchain platform built by Agile and Vault to notarize which researcher undertook data science experiments, what data was “touched” by their experiment, and what aggregate results they received from the analysis. The project enabled the department to demonstrate that data science experiments can be managed by a research platform that ensures individual patient records don’t need to be released to researchers.

The platform will allow health researchers to undertake large-scale studies using consented patients’ data in a secure cloud-based environment that protects data privacy. It will also allow them to collaborate whilst irrefutably claiming credit for their individual hypotheses and results.

Rupert Taylor-Price, Vault Systems Founder and CEO, said data security is an important right that all Australians deserve, especially when it comes to their medical records.

“Future medical breakthroughs could very well hang on finding a way to balance the use of citizen’s medical data for science while still guaranteeing strict data privacy as a priority,” said Taylor-Price. “By capitalizing on blockchain technology and ASD Certified ‘Protected’ cloud, the Australian government will possess the capability to support ‘big data’ analysis on sensitive data sets for breakthrough research while still complying with the Australian government’s privacy and security standards. It’s a big step forward in solving the conundrum of allowing approved researchers to perform data science experimentation on consented Australian’s data while prioritizing citizen data privacy.”

David Elliot, Executive Director at Agile Digital, said that through this project, they were able to leverage blockchain technology and Vault Systems’ secure cloud to ensure that personal records never leave secure storage.

“This approach can play a vital role in ensuring publicly funded researchers are able to draw scientific value from sensitive data sets without needing access to individual records,” said Elliot.